Man United 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur: United nearly make up for Fergie’s selection error

Robin van Persie challenges Clint Dempsey

Author: Doron

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Spurs came to Old Trafford with that familiar feeling of impending doom – it’s not been a happy place for them to visit for a generation now. That said, depending on Fergie’s team selection they may be forgiven for thinking things might be about to change – United’s midfield has too often been there for the taking and Spurs have some powerful options in that area. As ever, we welcome comments from both sets of fans.

Starting line up – so obviously wrong

It’s fair to say United fans’ worst fears were realised. The defence and to some extent the attack was to be predicted but the midfield lacked everything it would need against a powerful Spurs team that would press high. Giggs was to start left but as he did against Wigan, he’d drift infield to create a very lopsided team. It meant that United lacked pace, power and time in central areas. Spurs, with Dembele and Sandro, easily dominated and would go in two goals ahead of United at the break but arguably might feel they could have tested Lindegaard and United more.

United didn’t appear to have any plan – when in possession they always looked for Nani on the right because there was often no one on the left. Frustratingly, Kagawa was on the fringes – rarely in possession as United tried to focus on width rather than use him in the middle. It begs the question of whether United and Fergie truly know how to get the most out of him. United are a side that like to play with width but that’s not conducive to getting the best out of Shinji who really should be a focal point for a more central style of play with some lateral movement.

Painful to say, but like players have to be culpable for their errors – this was a gargantuan one from Fergie that unfortunately would cost United the game, with everything playing into Spurs’ hands so they could cut United apart with ease.


A small point, and one that may get lost in the aftermath and fallout but Lindegaard may be slightly disappointed with how things panned out for him. Spurs, with Defoe upfront, were unlikely to try and get crosses in and hence De Gea wouldn’t have had an issue with that today. Where Anders potentially could have done better was on Spurs’ second and third goals. Bale’s shot for the second didn’t go in beyond Anders’ dive but in line with his hands – it was the kind of attempted save that De Gea has pulled off quite a few times. For the third, Lindegaard parried the ball into a dangerous area – the centre of the six yard box. United’s defenders shouldn’t have allowed Dempsey to be unmarked but the ball really should have been pushed to the side of the goal.

Giggs – is the end closing in?

It’s sad to see such a hero of mine and legend of the game play the game and be completely off the pace and out of his depth. Giggs has to be used against opponents he can play well against and that nowadays is generally teams in the bottom half of the table. Against the bigger sides, he can be useful off the bench but unfortunately in a team that contains Carrick and Scholes, a player with more energy is required.

Without going into details, I’ll just recommend reading this piece on Giggs and why, with a heavy heart, it might be/could be/should be his final year at United. Is there even an outside chance he might ‘do a Gary Neville’ and call it a day himself mid-season? Fergie’s right to praise his physical state saying he could go on longer but technically and even mentally, he’s just not sharp enough it seems for the very top level.

Half time changes – Rooney’s influence, and Scholes

Two goals down at the break and Fergie had to make a change to undo his error of starting with the wrong team. He decided to take Giggs off and bring Rooney on, with Kagawa going wide left. Rooney would add some much needed presence into both the midfield and attack but more than anything, he brought some energy and enthusiasm into the game. It was exactly what United needed and Kagawa, although not a winger, actually stayed wide to give the side more shape and balance.

Rooney’s performance against Newcastle midweek had been very encouraging and that carried on today. He was busy, neat, and allowed those around him to play with a higher tempo. He also seemed to scare Spurs – they got deeper and weren’t sure whether to try and focus on closing Wayne down or Scholes, fortunately, they choose the former. This allowed Scholes to completely dominate the second half. Words simply do not do justice to his second half performance – maybe it was one of his finest at the club. Every pass was the right one, every long ball was perfect, every flick, every shot, every everything was performed to a ‘world class’ standard.

At 37, some fans lament the fact that United are still heavily reliant on the ginger asthmatic but that shouldn’t be a concern because right now, there is no one better than him at performing his role. The problem is that when he does start to show signs of not being good enough, how do you replace him? Right now, we don’t have an alternative for him and he remains such a valuable cog in the United machine.

Somewhat frustratingly, Kagawa, who had been excellent coming in from the left and really started to positively impact play in the second half, was replaced by Welbeck late on and United seemed to lose some of their gained momentum.

Spurs get a win, decisions and some luck for a change

It had been well documented that Spurs hadn’t won at Old Trafford for nearly 23 years and many of their fans have done their fair share of reminding people that they’ve had some rotten luck when it comes to decisions at United too. This time round though they certainly saw the key decisions go in their favour. It’s not a classic case of a moaning United fan but just pointing out that Spurs have had some overdue luck. A handball, a foul and maybe one more slightly more dubious foul in the penalty area were overlooked and United got nada. Karma?

Still, Spurs can be proud of their win, the first in a generation – if the first half was about pace and power, the second was about defending, discipline and shape. Whilst United had chances that they should have taken, Spurs played their part in ensuring that more than 90% of United’s crosses were not completed. They themselves had to play a centre back at left back and a (good) youngster in the heart of the defence – AVB can certainly be proud that the pressure in the second half only saw them breached twice.

Final thoughts: Rio and Evans, woodwork and intensity

It might go forgotten but United hit the bar and the post in the game – a stunning Rooney free kick was just a few inches too wide and a looping Carrick header saw everyone stand still and see it hit the frame of the goal. There were other chances too that just weren’t taken – van Persie and Evra the main culprits.

Rio seemed to come in for heavy criticism because he was out-paced by Bale. Erm, really? It’s not his fault he’s lost some pace and Gareth is very quick. Rio’s compensated for losing some of his speed well over the last 12 months and it was more the fault of the midfield that it came down to a one-on-one speed race with Bale. With Vidic, Smalling and Jones out, we need to hope that Evans’ injury right at the very end isn’t serious – if he has to miss a week or two, United may be in trouble.

Why oh why can’t United start games like they seem to have to start second halves? In every game bar one in the league we’ve had to come from behind which isn’t good enough at all. Can’t the players be motivated from the off or is it more to do with Fergie picking the wrong team to begin with and having to make changes?

Stat of the game: Spurs only completed 35 passes in the entire second half. When you think about that, it’s astonishing!


Spurs recorded their first win at Old Trafford since 1989 with a 3-2 victory over United. Ferguson surprisingly included Giggs in his side whilst AVB went for Dempsey over Sigurdsson who’d been ill midweek. Things started brilliantly for Tottenham as Vertonghen linked up with Bale and cruised into the United area before seeing his shot deflected in via Evans. United couldn’t cope with Spurs’ midfield and one became two when Bale surged through the middle with minimal fuss from left to right and shot past Lindegaard into the corner.

The second half was manic – Rooney spurred United into life and his fabulous cross was turned in by Nani. The Portuguese winger had a frustrating first half but being the only wide player in United’s side, there was no alternative as the midfielders tried to get the ball to him every time. Within the next three minutes two more goals were scored. First, Lindegaard could only parry a shot at the feet of Dempsey and then van Persie superbly found Kagawa who squeezed a shot in.

Without being harsh on Spurs, United should have gone on to take all three points – chances were created and missed, the woodwork was rattled, and some pretty clear decisions didn’t go their way. Spurs themselves were due some luck and a win and can be very pleased with many aspects of how they played but even the most ardent of Spurs fans cannot deny that United deserved at least a draw. Now, United must regroup and prepare for Cluj away on Tuesday and then Newcastle away on Sunday. This defeat will probably leave a sour taste for some time and that first half in particular will go down as one of Fergie’s biggest tactical guffs of recent years.

43 Comments on Man United 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur: United nearly make up for Fergie’s selection error

  1. Ok all I’ll say is that was surely 1 of the worst 1st half displays by a United side! EVER! Absolutely disgraceful! Giggs absolutely nowhere! Poor tactics by fergie though. Should have started either ando or tc23 to begin with or even Rooney. Our midfield and defense was an absolute shambles. Giggsys days are def numbered in my opnion. Just call it a day fella. We missed Valencias physical presense big time today and when is Ash Young back. Missed him too. Gutted with the loss! Hate losing to Spurs and can’t stand that twat villas boas! Celebrating like he’d won the league. Their cup final init?! Jokers. Anyways onto cluj next week and hope we batter them. Play rooney and van persie together at the start. Bang in a few goals and take them off and rest them both for sunday. No excuse not to play them fergie. Clevz and ando should start in midfield as well or at least 1 of them please Fergie. That 2nd half gave me a lot of hope for this season and I’m confident we can go onto achieve big things. Looking forward to 2 big games next week.

  2. Gallas could have wrecked RvP’s careers today! Disgraceful tackle! Won’t be surprised to see Robin out for a week or 2. Gutted he missed that chance but thought he did alright today. How unlucky was Wayne with that free kick. He looked sharp did Wazza! Huge player for us and it just makes me laugh how so many were criticising him 1st game of the season! Really? Bloody hell! He’s our best player for christ sakes! Support him people!

  3. has SAF lost the plot?–the obvious need for pace in midfield cried out for Cleverly and Anderson–Evra’s defensive frailty and lack of goals should have suggested Buttner should play–Welbeck’s speed and intellligence should have–at the very least–been used for 45 mins.The second half display almost rescued the reds from SAF’s tactical naivety and selection myopia–he must realise that the combination of Giggs/Carrick and Scholes is an open ivitaition to teams with power ,speed and strength in midfield–in other words a team like Tottenham!!

  4. Well, didn’t really see us losing against spur at 1st but after seeing that line-up i couldn’t see us getting anything out of the game really…1. We don’t seem to know how to use kagawa(imagine if he was at arsenal). 2. I thought ando and clevs really did well vs newcastle, to atleast should have put in contention to start,even if it was only the 1st half.3. Nani look like shit once again… And finally, utd should really consider signing a “defensive midfielder” cos really we don’t lack anything other than,that protection the defence get when we are not in possession of the ball… We are wealthy in attack,and when healthy we have one of the best defence in europe, we have creativity in midfield and lack defending!! In other to get the best out of clevs or ando, i think is when we have a def.mid, for when they make that run forward,they will someone to cover for them.. We need to improve fast, GGMU!! And as they say “utd never lose,they just run out of time. Cluj here we come.

  5. Gallas got the ball, watch the replay!
    Ferguson is a disgrace to football and should be fined for his comments, he taps his watch when he is one up and wants the match to finish early and taps his watch when is one goal down and wants play to continue until his team score again! He has been a great manager in the past but he has never been much of a human being.

  6. @Sid – without wishing to make a big deal of decisions (because Spurs were certainly owed a few) – there were three that could have been given to United.

    As for Fergie, well, if you look at it, he had a point about the time added on but that of course is meaningless and just his way of deflecting the media’s attention away from what was a terrible first half performance (and it’s clearly worked because in a piece that doesn’t mention it once, it’s what you’ve come on to talk about!).

  7. Time to dump the ageing players.They need to replace scholes,giggs and rio they’re great footballers but don’t have the engine anymore that they need to perform for Utd.Also think Fergies time is up too he really gaffed today.He’s got a £17M keeper on the bench,he had Anderson on the bench who put in a good performance in the league cup,Rooney could of started and been rested in midweek and then he brings Kagawa off who scored a great goal and was causing them all kinds of problems.Then instead of admitting he really ballsed up today we get aload of rubbish about time keeping.You rarely see more than 4mins when there hasn’t been a serious injury.Chelsea are playing really well and we’ll get owned at Stamford Bridge at the end of the month unless they really start to get the defence together and we get good tactics and selection from Fergie.

  8. It’s clear that when being pulled back Evra shouldn’t have dived forward in the opposite direction, it’s clear that Sandro had no idea where the ball was when it hit his hand and was not hand to ball as the law ststes and it was clear Walker got the ball as Ferguson himself admits.

    Scholes are Giggs were over run in the first half and 50% of Scholes passes in the second half were sideways. Spurs gave him all the time in the world to play from deep so his passing ststs look better than if he had been playing in the attacking third.

  9. @Pat Rice. You’re a bigger moaner than Fergie fella. On our first half performance alone we deserved the win. And we also had a higher percentage of possession over 90 minutes. Of course we were under the kosh second half. So are all teams that come to OT. And after all the disgusting decisions that have gone in your favour in the past we were due a few. Keep sucking those lemons fella because you couldn’t sound more bitter.

  10. @stuart – to be fair, did you see how knackered Anderson was on Wednesday? No way was he fit enough to start yesterday. I think his biggest errors were starting Giggs and then subbing Kagawa. I could understand why he left out Anderson/Cleverley after Wednesday, both played 90 minutes.

  11. @Nameonthetrophy-Only one of the panalty claims was ligit. Gallas clearly got the ball first, rewind back to Fergies comments last week in regards to the Evans challenge with Shelvey. Sandro was clearly looking the other way when the ball bounced up into his hand not his hand moving towards the ball. The Nani one should have been a pen but the ref was unsighted and maybe cos of Nani’s reputation for diving and theatrics(karma by the way for his complete lack of sportsmanship on Gomes during previous game) got the better of him.

  12. @DubYid – I think Spurs fans are somewhat missing the point here. United fans really aren’t that fussed about the penalty claims because dubious or not, Spurs are due some luck – yet, it would be wrong to completely ignore them from a post-match discussion. Rather, the majority of this piece is focussed on United’s shortcomings and Fergie’s odd decisions.

  13. @nameonthetrophy

    Maybe he’s one of those sportsmen that look really knacknered when they’re really ok.Look at Andy Murray! although got to admit Anderson still looks like he’s still wearing his coat underneath his shirt.

  14. @Nameonthetrophy, I think its you thats missing the point. I was responding to your statement where you said there were 3 pens that could’ve been given to Utd not the article. The fact is they should be ignored in discussions if they are obviously not pens otherwise its clutching at straws. I have no problem admitting Nanis was a pen, it was one peanalty incident in reality not 3.

  15. What a lovely day and it gets sweeter and sweeter reading uppity manc’s moaning about a well deserved beating,COYS BIOYMUC

  16. To start, it’s nice to read most United blogs (that appear on Spurs’ NewsNow feed) seem to be constructive. A welcome change to the usual United fan/blogger who seem to swamp the Sun and Daily Mail comment sections.

    As for the game I felt like most, it was definitely a game of two halves. We should of arguably been more than 2-0 up at half-time as we destroyed you from the first minute – the last time I saw it so one-sided was when you lost to Real Madrid with the ‘fat’ Ronaldo. Second half was – as every Spurs fan expected and dreaded – an onslaught from your guys after Red Nose had bitten their heads off. The goal from Dempsey was so crucial because if you had got it to 2-2 with 53 to play, it could of easily have ended 5-2 AGAIN!

    We were due some luck/decisions at OT, probably more than anyone in the Premier League era. I felt the Nani one was a penalty but when we players learn not to make a meal of challenges? Nani cost himself the penalty there. The “handball” was nothing. Every fan seemed to shout “handball” whenever we blocked it – and it was a long half of blocking. I thought in general the ref did well to keep control despite the obvious pressure on him.

    As for the four minutes.. I was amazed at where even that came from. One sub was at HT, so no extra time is added. Another two came at the same time. I thought to get FOUR minutes was being generous but at OT, when you’re winning, it was the least you expected.

    I think your (United) midfield is a bit lightweight. Of course when we sat deep we left Scholes isolated to run the game, but there wasn’t anyone in your team capable of breaking up play and running past/through players, apart from maybe Rooney. You basically surrendered in the first half to us. I still expect you guys to be in the top 2, and hopefully we can be as close to you as possible. COYS. AVB.

  17. Bad formation. Confused and undetermined players. Conformity. 3 archilles heels that United have. Like one isn’t enough! United have finally been broken to join the band wagon of tiki-taka fanatism! This is the sole reason I detest all things tiki-taka, including and particularly Barcelona FC! I mean just the name itself is abhorrent- TIKI-TAKA! Sounds like a child’s board game that I would never dare foolishly engage in! This article speaks about how Sir Alex doesn’t know how to use Kagawa but that’s all that United is doing, AND IT’S NOT WORKING! This 4-2-3-1 formation is just so boring and impotent to any effective outcome that each time it’s used United have had to come back from perilous positions to Nick a win luckily! Well, LUCK RAN OUT! It offers no density in midfield to at least maintain possession nor does it give any sort of attacking potency or fluency of any manner! Kagawa is just NOT effective in that position! Save for the UCL game against Gala, whose midfield was considerably less conjested, Kagawa has been a candle in the sun in his starts! Only when the formation is changed to a more attacking 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 does his impact spring out! And why not! Fletcher is back, it’s safe to say! His performance against Newcastle was reminiscent of the days when United were solid in midfield and forced attacks to go through the wings where they would be crushed to nothingness by the resolute defence! Carrick and Scholes are great passers but they are just so porous! Scholes is 37 and refs just don’t give him a chance in tackles so no surprises seeing him backing off 50-50 challenges! Carrick on the other hand has been tackling more often lately but he’s not the dogging type, the terrier that runs at you and makes sure that you don’t make that 20-30 yard run right up to the penalty area where Rio and Vidic in all their supreme defensive skills can’t have a chance!

    Why not a diamond 4-4-2 as in the Newcastle game? Fletcher lying deep, Kagawa/Cleverley on left-wing duty, Anderson/Valencia on right-wing and Rooney in the hole- since he’s more effective there and has the Jersey for it anyway! Then a combination of any two of Hernandez/ RvP/ Welbeck! Or, a 4-3-3 of Fletcher/Anderson-Scholes/Fletcher- Carrick/Cleverley, then Young/Kagawa/Rooney/Nani-Rooney/van Persie/ Chicharito/ Welbeck- Valencia/Nani/RvP!

    Or if you just want goals and classic United attacking colossus, classic 4-4-2, Fletcher and Scholes in the middle, Nani and Valencia out wide and Rooney/ Welbeck-RvP/ Chicharito upfront! This formation led to a treble, don’t see why it’s dreaded! With the right personnel in right positions, United can easily dominate attacks and even though possession stats won’t be 70-30% in United’s favor, the goal stats will be, and that’s all that matters anyway! As Chelsea proved last season, you can have 10% possession and only 0.5% of that in the opposing half, all that matters, all that gets you winning Champions League trophies and named ‘Champions of Europe’ (nevermind the hefty prize sum), are the goals! Barcelona dominated pass completion rates but Messi was so frustrated he even missed a penalty! It’s like boxing, rumble in the jungle, Ali lets George Forman come at him with all power till Forman tired himself out without really landing any impacting blows! Then came the quick feet and the combinations, one-two, right left, and before long Ali had one of the greatest boxers in history down on the canvas unable to rise up fast enough to beat the countdown! Read it up, it’s a brilliant tactic by Ali and a basis for so many strategies today!

    I’m not saying United should adopt a rope-a-dope philosophy, but sometimes, dominating your opponent doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll win! Football is about goals! To win you need more goals than your opposition! Simple! United need to snap out of this need to enlarge their possession stats and just concentrate on finishing teams off! Cleverley and Kagawa have been guilty of overemphasizing possession keeping by continuing a passing move even when in GOOD goal-scoring areas, so much so that Cleveley almost forgot how to score with only the keeper to beat! These two need to up their game and take more risks going forward instead of going for the safe side pass that usually leads to a turnover and conceding needless goals! I say DEATH TO THE ‘TIKI-TAKA’ and revival to United’s attacking philosophy! It’s why United are the most supported team on Earth!

  18. @Fitsy69 I was not being bitter to be honest – just being realistic! When you support the best club in the world u don’t expect your team to put in a 1st half performance like we did! And especially at old trafford! There’s a certain standard we expect from our player when they are playing and especially at OT. Yes MUFC don’t have a god given right to be at their best every time they take to the pitch at OT but I have absolutely every right to complain after that peroformance. Just have a look at twitter at people like United rant, man united youth and loads of others. Its quite pathetic to see United absolutely outfaught and outplayed in every department for the first 45 minutes. And mate, this is a United blog – what do u want me to say? Should I have conceded that Spurs were deserves winners mate? Because they were most difinitely not! Yes they were over 45 monutes but a football game lasts 90 minutes and United deserved a draw at least to be fair.

  19. I disagree we were outplayed according to some, yeah Spurs had some luck but come on you have had more than your fair share for 20 years! I really just wanted to say your supporters at the ground were gracious and shook all our hands on the way out.

  20. @DD – can’t quite work out who you support but presuming you’re a Spurs fan, if you don’t think you’re team were outplayed and you were at the game, you must have been very inebriated! We got into your penalty area 34 times and you got into ours 6 – just a case of who took their chances.

    As for luck – yep, Spurs were due some.

  21. @ frontwheel a well deserves beating?? Ye maybe for the 1st 45 mins it was but football lasts for 90 minutes if you didn’t know…

  22. @Nameonthetrophy We were only out-played in the second half. Likewise your lot were in the first half. As they say, it’s a game of two halves. Should that mean a draw would of been a fair result? Probably. But for years of dubious decisions and yesterday for our solid defensive wall, it was about just we held on to win.

  23. @spurspanyol – get your point but not sure it’s as simple as you win one half, we win another. On the balance of play, a full 90 mins, chances created etc, we should have got a win and if it wasn’t for woodwork and poor finishing we would have done. Guess in many ways, and it sounds harsh, but maybe Spurs might have been disappointed not to test Lindegaard more in the first half.

  24. Get over it Pat,I’m sure last week you were apologizing to all the Liverpool fans who felt hard done by.Just take it on the chin,its the sense of entitlement that grates me,and at the same time makes me smile COYS BIOYMUC

  25. @Nameonthetrophy — But you need to remember all the factors. If you are winning, away from home, against a strong rival, surely the second half is going to be more defensive and arguably the rival will have more chances as when the half is up, the game is over. We should of tested Lindegaard more, but we can’t take the same risks that United did in the second half because we were the one in control, we were the one in the lead. 2-0 up and the emphasis at half-time switches to the home team to respond and for the away team to protect and look to counter when possible.

    We were guilty of sitting too deep in the second half so when we did get the ball there was no outlet and it was back as us again. Maybe naivity on the part of our relatively young squad, maybe nerves, maybe even the “OT/Spurs jinx”, who knows? We also didn’t need to attack in the second half as we had what we needed – whereas United had nothing so had to give their all. It comes down to need and emphasis – we got our job done in the first half and in the second we did our job of holding onto that lead.

    Ironically, the one time we did break with numbers and fluidity we scored. I put it down more to the mental psyche that we were too scared to open up more in danger of throwing the game away: great for the neutrals and United, but not for Spurs. There aren’t many teams in the world that could of absorbed the second half onslaughter we took and held on and I think for that, our defence deserves a lot of credit.

  26. So we lost 2-3. But the bottom line, and with no disrespect to Spurs, is that our set up was a case of shooting ourselves in the foot. We have to accept that Sir Alex will sometimes get it wrong. Spurs played well.

    Whatever the match/possession statistics we still need a ball winning midfield screen to protect the defence from people running at us, (as in the first half yesterday leading to two goals) and to break up play. Surprised Sir Alex didn’t didn’t favour the shape he used mid-week against Newcastle where he alternated between 4-3-3 and a 4-4-2 diamond. Fletcher was the screen then, but maybe he was keeping him for this weeks CL away game so didn’t want to risk him. I think we’ll see that shape again then. The criticism of a 4-3-3 is that you lack natural width, but at the moment our wide players are either not fit our out of form. The concern for me is Nani, (not Giggs as in theory we are looking for more of a long term contribution from Nani).

    Sometimes you get penalties sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you get a bit of luck, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you get the injury time allowance that is merited, sometimes you don’t.

    Sir Alex will always fight our corner and will ruffle a few feathers in doing so. He is employed to be our manager not as a public relations officer, (or because of his qualities as a human being). If he upsets annoys a few people so what. He’s not above criticism, but will generally get more right than he gets wrong. He’s not perfect but he’s done quite well so far as a football manager.

  27. A first half performance full of incertitude lead to a non-existent left-hand side and midfield. Ryan Giggs’ selection confused many – and this has been the case for a a couple of years now. No doubt that he used to be a great player, who put in great shifts, but he is more of a liability than a useful asset these days.

    Patrice Evra had to deal with Aaron Lennon and Kyle Walker, and to his credit – he had one of his best games this season. A bit unorthodox when you consider Lennon usually has fine games against the Frenchman. A positive sign that he is returning back to his best, also, was the attacking down the left. It has degraded, but his link up play was fairly solid.

    The energy Sandro and Moussa Dembele channelled into the Tottenham side was unparalleled. The Brazilian broke up play effectively and gave Robin Van Persie a horrid time, whilst the latter stood out for large periods in the first half where his ball retention and strength were, once again, phenomenal. It is not the first time we have seen the Belgian international overpower our midfield, however, he did fade off in the second half, as did the rest of the side. Linked with a move to United earlier in the summer, it seems a bit stupid now that substantial interest was not shown.

    A way to not start a game is to concede early. Apart from the Wigan game, United have conceded first in every other game this season which is worrying. Jan Vertonghen was allowed to run past by Nani, but then the midfield and defence is responsible for taking care of the mess. Neither Michael Carrick nor Rio Ferdinand managed to deal with him thus he scored a goal which deflected off the latter. Another one of those goals which is easily preventable.

    Tottenham were irresistible, playing some fine football and defending like giants. The second goal came straight from a counter-attack. Gareth Bale ran powerfully, past Ferdinand, and slotted a goal with his weaker foot into the bottom left corner.

    Whatever Sir Alex Ferguson said at half-time worked. Wayne Rooney was introduced for Giggs, Shinji Kagawa moved to the left, and more hunger was present within the side. Tottenham never threatened as much as they did in the first half, which subsequently allowed United back in the game. The first goal for United arrived. Rooney found himself on the right, whipped in a glorious cross, which seen Nani score. The crowd continued with the vigorous support.

    United were unstoppable. Although they did concede the killer goal, they continued to overpower Tottenham. Dembele and Sandro struggled to dominate midfield. The second goal was one of United’s best. A Ronaldo-esque chop by Van Persie gave him room to thread through a fine ball to Kagawa, who scored (his shot coming off the inside post).

    Ferdinand is more than eager to be included in the England squad (now with John Terry out of the picture), but his performance was mediocre. For the third goal, his pace haunted him again as Jermaine Defoe was invited to pass to Bale, who took a shot that Anders Lindegaard could only parry to Clint Dempsey, who scored the rebound. One of the worst performances ever. Even for the first goal, he reacted too long. An experienced player, viewed as the best English centre-back of the last decade, did himself no favours.

    Anders Lindegaard was just as much to blame for the second and third goals. He got down too quickly for Bale’s goal and parried the ball to the wrong direction for the third goal. David de Gea was dropped because of a mistake – not really a mistake – but it remains inconceivable why the Dane starts over him. The Spaniard is capable of match-winning saves (Chelsea 3-3 draw comes to mind) and has significantly improved.

    The positives? The over-reliance on Paul Scholes might be a negative, but the way he can control the flow and tempo of the game, even when is closely marked, is unbelievable. He is easily the best English midfielder to play the game. Fergie, however, has to find a way of integrating Anderson or Tom Cleverley into the side, as time will run fast, quicker than we know it. Instead of fielding Giggs, Fergie needs to be open-minded and look at things objectively.

    Kagawa’s performance was another to think about. Being lightweight does not help, but his performance on the left was a real highlight. Comparisons to David Silva can be conjured up. It is no coincidence that our general play and momentum fell down when he was wrongly substituted for Danny Welbeck.

    Whilst I have been a critic of Rooney’s disgraceful performances (by his standard) since the start of the year, his last two performances have convinced me that he is determined to alter the direction of where his career is heading. He does not want to be a passenger, he wants to be an influential figure, which he has never been. Only in 09/10 was he pivotal. I hope he finds consistency and does not receive an injury that ruins the momentum he is currently on.

    There were contentious decisions that I did not mention because they have silenced the critics. When someone says “United get all the decision”, what more can you do? Denied two clear-cut penalties which would have changed the complexion of the game, but not once has a United fan addressed these controversial decisions and used them to degrade Tottenham’s performance. Sometimes you get the decisions; sometimes you do not.

    Of course the result hurts, knowing that it could have been prevented. Writing this up is quite hard, why Fergie would not buy a midfielder is beyond me, but why he does not include Cleverley or Anderson ahead of Giggs confuses me more. A win against Cluj to get us back to winning ways would be a start, but I hope this is a lesson firmly learned for Fergie.

  28. @utdweekly – Rooney has only been influential for United in 09-10?? Shut up you EGG!! 181 goals for MUFC. 129 league,14 fa CUP,34 in europe and 4 league cup goals says it all…

  29. He does not want to be a passenger, he wants to be an influential figure, which he has never been.

    slap yourself fella.

  30. Some great comments on here. Excellent blog. Probably the best I’ve been on. Good luck for the rest of the season fellas. Just don’t let the scum or Chavski win any trophies. See you at the lane in January. COYS

  31. No offence, Pat-Rice, but that is simply wrong.

    You have decided to not fully comprehend what the word “influential” means to its fully meaning. As Gary Neville rightly alluded to in the first game of this season, Rooney has always been in the shadow of better players, though I believe that no one was in his shadow in 09/10. Influential means someone you can constantly rely on and, if you believe that he is exactly that, then what have you seen that has led you to this? Stats do not, in any way, mean he is influential, they just show that he has some phenomenal stats, but overall – you’re using flawed logic again, which is futile. Please find me a period where Rooney was consistent (a large period), with the exception of 09/10, instead of liking your own posts and offering zero talking points about what I said.

  32. I Like the way u guys on here comment, it’s alway nice to hear different views from many fans!! Guys there’s a guy i follow on twitter @indylaika he’s saying utd are interest in bringing in “tiote” in the jan.trans.window and that the player himself wants the move to happen…his source is tiote’s friend!! The reason i even bothered writing it here is because this guys reports were acurate over the summer.

  33. @mike 4-4-2 is outdated and dead and it has no future in europe at the moment, 3 or 4 central midfield will always ovverun 2, unfortunately fergusson is tactical neanderthal and he doesn’t get it as well:) and current results proves it. forget about treble it was ages ago plus we had such a player like kean, don’t you forget what we won just just that final, all match played poorly without suspended kean..

  34. @nameonthetrophy- Sorry it’s @indykaila not “indylaika” mistake!… He’s a freelance journalist very acurate in his reports.

  35. @nameonthetrophy- i’d take it, you’ve seen the guy i was talking by now! So what do u think? And also maybe,you could try and talk to him and find out more, since ur also a brilliant writter as he is..

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